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Church indulgences/absolution certificates


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#1 Michael 'Anthony' Cornett

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 11:09 PM

I apologize if this topic has been covered previously. I have read of it before, but always brushed it aside. However, I have recently stumbled back upon this topic and can't quite sink my teeth around a clear explanation or even anathema for it...Indulgences & Certificates of Absolution in the 16th-18th Centuries of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Here is the reference source: http://www.pravoslav...41125153738.htm

I see that a particular council in the 19th century forbids it, at least to a degree, but is there much more of an explanation as to how this could have happened, or why this was allowed even by the most holy of fathers? Strong defenders of our faith, against the heresies, and they seemed to have no qualms with not only condoning, but requesting such certificates?

I hope that, like some of St Gregory of Nyssa's writings, it's an issue of semantics and misunderstanding of translation.

Anyone wish to tackle this, or refer me to an existing thread on the topic?

Thanks!

Anthony

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 11:22 PM

It coincides with the influence of Tzar Peter the (not-so) Great who, in his attempt to make Russia more "western" (or "modern") sent many clergy and monastics to be educated in Catholic seminaries which obviously brought a lot of Catholic influence into the Russian Church for a time.

Herman the Pooh

#3 Guillermo M.L.

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 02:22 AM

It coincides with the influence of Tzar Peter the (not-so) Great who, in his attempt to make Russia more "western" (or "modern") sent many clergy and monastics to be educated in Catholic seminaries which obviously brought a lot of Catholic influence into the Russian Church for a time.


Didn't Russians have seminaries on their own?

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 11:57 AM

Certainly, but they were too "old-fashioned" for Tzar Peter. It was not the lack of resources, but the desire to be more like "modern" Europe at the time that drove him to send people out of the country for education and "culture".

#5 Michael 'Anthony' Cornett

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 04:31 PM

The article refers to St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, who was definitely not Russian. I haven't been able to read a whole lot on St. Nicodemus, but I have heard that he was very much influenced by the West, and perhaps this western influence of the indulgences and certificates was limited to a smaller few? I have read Metropolitan Hierotheos footnote a handful of writings from St. Nicodemus, so he sparked my interest, but in further research, it looks like there's a split view on how to handle his writings. It seems like someone so invested in the theology and writings of St. Gregory Palamas (such as Met. Hierotheos), would have a more cautious approach to someone on the Holy Mountain who supposedly adapted many things from the West. Particularly when blasting Barlaam one minute, and lifting up the words of St. Nicodemus the next.

I would be much appreciative of any recommended texts to develop an Orthodox view of St. Nicodemus.

Thanks,

Anthony

Edited by Michael 'Anthony' Cornett, 22 September 2010 - 04:32 PM.
grammar


#6 Michael 'Anthony' Cornett

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 06:36 PM

I should mention, that I have recently placed an order for a copy of "Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain: A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel (Classics of Western Spirituality)", which was a source used frequently in Metropolitan Hierotheos's "Life After Death". I'm sure it'll give me a better clue as to St. Nicodemos' theology, but any other insights here would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Anthony

#7 Kosta

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 12:27 AM

St Nicodemos was well versed in latin, and an admirer of many latin writings and customs. Of course muchof St Nicodemos writings have been tampered with. Some have a latin mindset, some have interpolations and other questionable additions. St Nicodemos writings were heavily abridged and corrupted in the west, even by uniate minded monks, as they were sent to be published by the printing presses in Venice and Austria. The Patriarch of Constantinople had to write a warning in the 19th century that he did his best to restore St Nikodemos book to its original attached as a disclaimer in the front of his books.

As far as indulgences it was a way to make money while showing the uniates and latins that the other patriarchs can send letters of absolution and its not limited to the bishop of Rome.

#8 Theodora E.

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 12:52 AM

If you've read Anna Karenina, Kosta, who hadn't been much of a church-goer, has to get a certificate he's been to Confession before he can marry Kitty.

#9 Kosta

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 05:11 AM

Cant say i ever read Anbna Karenina. Nor do i know what practises crept into the russian church during the western captivity. But the link says it was even practised till the 1950's in Greece. Never met an elderly greek, not my grandmothers or grandfathers or anyone else who is familiar with this. It was always a rare practise.

#10 Christophoros

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 03:36 PM

Regarding the charge that St. Nikodemos was a bit too Latin-minded in his approach to things, here is an article by Protopresbyter George Metallinos of the University of Athens entitled, The Exomologetarion of St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite:

http://www.synodinre...aMetallinos.pdf

#11 Tony Jiang

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:13 AM

so why did they allow indugences for that i thought it was wrong to sell forgiveness from God... and i thought that the CHurch is supposed to be infalliable....

#12 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:38 PM

The practice of Indulgences has never been universal in the Orthodox Church. And the concept of "infallibility" never been part of Orthodox tradition.

#13 Owen Jones

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 02:08 PM

I believe that the Justinian Council pronounced that its pronouncements were infallible, and I think that is true as applying to all of the councils now.

#14 Ryan

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 04:28 AM

As far as I could tell, St. Nicodemus' "Handbook..." is purely in the tradition of the hesychast fathers. There is nothing Latinized in there. His revision of Unseen Warfare also represents a strong turn toward this tradition. I think some like to exaggerate how much St. Nicodemus took from the Latin West, and ignore the fact that he played a huge role in reviving authentic Orthodox spirituality with his work of compiling the Philokalia.

#15 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:32 AM

I believe that the Justinian Council pronounced that its pronouncements were infallible, and I think that is true as applying to all of the councils now.

We've discussed this elsewhere. Merely claiming to be "infallible" basically means nothing. You do not need to be "infallible" to be correct, you merely need to be correct. That is why the one of the first acts of an Ecumenical Council was to affirm the proceedings of the preceding council. Why would this be necessary if the council was already assumed to be infallible? And what of the robber councils?

While there was some discussion in the 7th and 8th centuries that the five councils that had occurred up to that point constituted a type of infallibility, I don't believe that the council declared itself infallible.

The concept of "infallibility" destroys free will. Infallibility is a fallacy when applied directly to humans.

#16 Samuel J. Howard

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:57 PM

so why did they allow indugences for that i thought it was wrong to sell forgiveness from God...


Even those who agree with the idea of indulgences agree that it is wrong to sell forgiveness from God.

--Samuel J. Howard




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